A new documentary by filmmaker Sandra Pires, Pig Iron Bob, will capture the waterfront events that took place in the Illawarra just before the start of World War II.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Dalfram Dispute, this Friday, members of the Wollongong community will re-enact scenes from an action taken by waterfront workers and their families 75 years ago to the day, on November 15, 1938.
‘‘This is the story of a community that said no to the military build-up of the Japanese Imperialist regime, an ally of the Nazi government, and in doing so inspired workers and their communities worldwide,’’ Ms Pires said.
Scenes of men walking off the wharves at Port Kembla and scenes that depict 4000 workers and their families protesting when Sir Robert Menzies, the then Attorney-General, came to Wollongong, will also be filmed on Friday.
“There is something proud and unique about Wollongong and this history needs to be recorded before the links to the past are lost forever,’’ Ms Pires said.
Anyone with links, photos or information about the incident is encouraged to come forward. Extras are also needed and are invited to appear on Friday dressed as 1930s wharfies and their wives and children.
On November 15, 1938, 180 men refused to load pig iron on to the ship Dalfram when they realised the destination was Kobe, Japan. They refused because they believed the pig iron would be used for bullets and bombs against the Chinese during the military take over of Nanking and eventually Australia.
As a moral stand, the men and their families stayed out of work for nine weeks with no pay, supported by organisations, businesses, and workers and families from around Australia, including Illawarra miners.
On January 11, Menzies came to Wollongong to sort out the dispute and over 4000 people protested. He was given the nickname Pig Iron Bob by Mrs Gwendoline Croft.